Welcome to the new A\J AlternativesJournal.ca

THIS ISSUE of Alternatives Journal came with a steep learning curve. After 41 years of profiling science and sustainability with a strong Canadian perspective, this winter we decided to kick our editorial mandate into higher gear. We chose to set bolder goals, expand our storytelling and play a broader (but still grounded) role in the all-too-cacophonous discussion of 21st century environmentalism. Let me reintroduce the magazine as A\J, Canada’s environmental voice.

The curve has been steep because the stakes are immense. Helping more people grasp the biosphere’s behaviour has never been more pivotal. In pursuit of that goal, we’ve enlisted new collaborators, rebuilt our team and embraced change – perhaps the only appropriate response to an era of climate upheaval.

We hope our veteran readers will appreciate the magazine’s fresh look and feel as much as the bigger, wider audience we’re trying to reach. Armed with fabulous branding advice and a beautiful new magazine layout by Norm Lourenco, Jennifer Neal and the K9 Design Co. team, A\J now has more space for stunning photos, images and graphics, and a lot of room to experiment.

Our focus remains on providing a voice of reason and authenticity. Yet we’re also trying to deliver stories from the front lines of environmental thought and action in more dynamic ways. To complement the magazine, we worked with Mad Hatter Technology Inc. to develop a cleaner, deeper alternativesjournal.ca. Although we’re still debugging, the website has been reimagined as a discussion space for ecological and social justice issues, with incisive reportage, specialist bloggers and wisdom from the Alternatives archives. We’ll be sharing advice about living lighter, tracking environmental news and events in real time, reviewing books and films, and pointing our readers towards great opportunities and like-minded communities.

Our overarching target is to make A\J a better educational resource for concerned citizens, and to build a reservoir filled with achievable solutions. If there’s a practical, common thread to the challenges we face, it’s that humanity needs faster, more flexible and accessible strategies to survive. The good news is that people all over the planet are already applying them.

With this issue of A\J, we also found that the next generations are leading the charge towards sustainability. Isabel Slone profiles postsecondary art and design students who hone their craft by confronting local problems. Through our partnership with Earth Day Canada, we discover environmental filmmaking prodigy Miranda Andersen (and others following in her footsteps), the equally heartbreaking and heartwarming Projet Karyne, and the infinitely renewable creativity of Gordie Wornoff, who appears on our cover.

This issue also features our annual guide to Canada’s university degree programs in environmental studies. Each year, we create this guide to help young Canadians (and their parental units) make the right choices to fit their needs and objectives.

University of Waterloo post-doctoral fellow and Coalition to Save ELA organizer Jason venkiteswaran dives into a current controversy, also with education in mind. venkiteswaran argues that without the Experimental Lakes Area in northwestern Ontario, which the Harper government has committed to closing in early 2013, we deny ourselves the knowledge of future freshwater scientists. Without their wisdom, we are basically paddling towards oblivion.

Finally, we delve into the perpetual battle between BC’s Tŝilhqot’in First Nation and the company that keeps pushing to turn their traditional territory into an open-pit mine.

To be the voice of Canada’s environmental movement, A\J needs to be reflective of our readers’ thoughts and views as well. So please share your input on the new look, our newest stories and the ideas that concern you.

Conserve after reading, 
editor [at] alternativesjournal.ca